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Which iPhone 3G/3GS Unlock? ultrasn0w vs purplesn0w

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For those who travel or live overseas with their iPhones, having an unlocked iPhone is extremely valuable. You can freely pop in any SIM card from any worldwide GSM carrier and avoid roaming charges with Rogers. Currently, our iPhones in Canada are locked to either Rogers or Fido. If you’re not smart about it, your vacations can end up costing you a lot of money!

The first iPhone 3G unlock was yellowsn0w, released by the iPhone Dev Team. For 3.0 firmware, the Dev Team released ultrasn0w for both the iPhone 3G/3GS. However, GeoHot (who was famous for the 1.1.2 unlock) recently released purplesn0w, his own unlock for the iPhone 3G/3GS (this was to build on his release of purplera1n).

iPhone Dev Team Responds to the ultrasn0w vs purplesn0w Debate

So if you’re an iPhone 3G/3GS user, and want to unlock your iPhone, what install should you use? This can be confusing for us to decide so the iPhone Dev Team decided to clear a few things up with their recent ultrasn0w version 0.9 release.

Here are the features of ultrasn0w 0.9:

* Works on both 3G and 3GS (purplesn0w only unlocks the 3GS)
* Works on hacktivated devices
* Works regardless of how you jailbroke your device
* Doesn’t patch any mach-o binary whatsoever. (Doesn’t require a separate patch as each new firmware comes out).
* Doesn’t install any additional daemon
* Has no race conditions, no popups about “Missing SIM”, no network issues
* Is almost 7000 times smaller than its nearest competition 🙂
* Is available now via Cydia. Source repo is http://repo666.ultrasn0w.com (that last “0” in ultrasn0w is a zero!)

So what’s the big difference between ultrasn0w and purplesn0w? Well, the answer is that it comes down to the amount of memory being used by the respective unlocks. Ultrasn0w uses 152 bytes of your baseband RAM, while purplesn0w uses 1MB–this could lead to potential problems *now it uses zero. In the words of the iPhone Dev Team:

To put it into perspective, ultrasn0w uses 152 bytes of properly malloc’d baseband RAM, which is 0.015% of what purplesn0w uses. Put another way, purplesn0w uses 6900 times more RAM than ultrasn0w (and doesn’t let the O/S know that it’s using it, so the O/S still thinks it’s free to use. When it does use it, the baseband will crash).

At the moment it seems that both ultrasn0w and purplesn0w will do the job of unlocking your iPhone 3G/3GS (3GS only with purplesn0w). I have ultrasn0w installed on my iPhone 3GS and everything works perfectly. Personally I would stick to the iPhone Dev Team’s jailbreak/unlock tools as they have always worked for me. If you are going to use purplesn0w, do some Google research before taking the plunge.

Can the iPhone Dev Team and GeoHot look eye to eye?

In the words of GeoHot:

one of these days i’m gonna go work for apple. thats the day the dev team and i will be on different sides 😛

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Which unlock do you have installed? ultrasn0w or purplesn0w? Any problems yet?

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  • Ultrasn0w. Why you ask? Because. That's why.
    So stop being silly, and just get it done with Ultrasn0w.

  • Marco

    Have wicked problems with ultrasn0w. When I added the repo, a prompt kept on popping up saying “bad url”. I tried uninstalling and trying again to be careful of entering the repo correctly, and it still happens. Surprisingly when it automatically restarts, the repo exists and I install ultrasn0w. But when I do this, everytime I look at pacakges in Cydia, it redirects the preview page to some SPAM website… :

  • Although I really don't need to put a different SIM chip in my phone at the moment, I'd personally go with Ultrasn0w just because of rep. I'm sure purplesn0w works great for those who use it, but as I have a 3G I'm going to have to go with Ultrasn0w.

  • articlesaday

    Nice article. This is the question asked by many!

    I think you helped them a lot!

    Thanks 🙂

  • Nick_Abby

    Purplera1n here and will be followed bt purplesn0w if the need arises

    Dev team struck a bit of a bad chord with me when they decided to hold on to their jailbreak if it wasn't for gehot and purplera1n all you 3gs owners would still be waiting for 3.1 os like they wanted us to

    Don't forget that. Cheers everyone long live the jailbreaking and unlocking!!

  • After jailbreaking my 3GS and realizing how great having the JB is, I do now understand why the DT holding off would annoy a whole bunch of people. However, if it was for the betterment of long term jailbreaks I was all for holding off till 3.1.

  • Dusty

    I have not tried neither one of the new updates. But right now if I were to unlock my iPhone, I would most likely go with Ultrasn0w as Geohot is still working on his RC2 release…. Plus Purplesn0w does not hactivate it like Ultrasn0w, so u need to have a legit activated iPhone with Purplesn0w. (Some ppl don't read that part lol)

  • rorypiper

    I have no reason to unlock, so far, but if I were to travel out of Canada, I would use ultrasn0w. I've been using the Dev Team's stuff since 1.1.4, I think (?). I just trust their releases now.

  • Guest

    I have not tried neither one of the new updates. But right now if I were to unlock my iPhone, I would most likely go with Ultrasn0w as Geohot is still working on his RC2 release…. Plus Purplesn0w does not hactivate it like Ultrasn0w, so u need to have a legit activated iPhone with Purplesn0w. (Some ppl don't read that part lol)

  • rorypiper

    I have no reason to unlock, so far, but if I were to travel out of Canada, I would use ultrasn0w. I've been using the Dev Team's stuff since 1.1.4, I think (?). I just trust their releases now.

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